Bottle Notes, Merlot

2011 Grgich Hills Estate Merlot – Bottle Notes

Grgich Hills Estate, in Rutherford, in the Napa Valley, was founded in 1977 by Mike Grgich. Grgich earned fame in 1976 when the Chardonnay he produced as winemaker at Chateau Montelena won first prize among white wines at the now famous Paris Wine Tasting. The estate has 366 acres of vineyards in American Canyon, Carneros, Yountville, Rutherford and Calistoga and…

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Bottle Notes, Merlot

2006 Force Majeure CS IV – Bottle Notes

Previously known as Grand Rêve, Force Majeure was founded in 2004 by Paul McBride and Ryan Johnson. Force Majeure pairs some of Washington’s highly acclaimed winemakers with fruit from one of Washington’s highly acclaimed vineyards, Ciel du Cheval. The winemakers contributing to the Collaboration Series is a Who’s Who of Washington winemakers including Ben Smith, Carolyn Lakewold, Chris Gorman, James…

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Bottle Notes, Merlot

2004 Pahlmeyer Merlot – Bottle Notes

Pahlmeyer was founded in the mid-1980s when Jayson Pahlmeyer, a Bay Area lawyer, decided he preferred thinking about wine over reading legal briefs. Pahlmeyer produced its debut vintage in 1986. The winemaking team is comprised of Kale Anderson who is Director of Winemaking for the Napa Valley vineyard and operations, and Bibiana González Rave as Consulting Winemaker overseeing the Sonoma…

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Bottle Notes, Merlot

2009 Betz Family Clos de Betz – Bottle Notes

Betz Family Winery was founded in 1997 by Bob & Cathy Betz. Critical acclaim from local and national wine publications has put Betz Family Winery at the forefront of Washington wines alongside Cayuse, Leonetti and Quilceda Creek. The winery was sold to Steve and Bridget Griessel (with Bob Betz remaining on as the winemaker), and I fully expect quality will…

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Bottle Notes, Merlot

2005 Switchback Ridge Merlot – Bottle Notes

Switchback Ridge wines are sourced from the Peterson Family Vineyard in Calistoga. The property has been in the Peterson Family since 1914 and was replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah in 1990. Bob Foley has been the winemaker since the inaugural vintage in 1999. Opaque purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Aromas of cherry, lavender, leather, kirsch and evergreen…

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2004 Switchback Ridge Merlot
Bottle Notes, Merlot

2004 Switchback Ridge Merlot – Bottle Notes

Switchback Ridge wines are sourced from the Peterson Family Vineyard in Calistoga. The property has been in the Peterson Family since 1914 and was replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah in 1990. Bob Foley has been the winemaker since the inaugural vintage in 1999. Opaque purple in color. 15.5% ABV. Nose of cassis, tar and dark fruits. Plums,…

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Bottle Notes, Merlot

In Defense of Merlot

It’s become fashionable to bash Merlot. Will Lyons of the Wall Street Journal wrote: “What struck me was how different the vintages were in style, how poorly some of the Merlots showed and just how stunning the Cabernet Sauvignons were.” From Tim Fish of The Wine Spectator: “The 2010 California Merlots just aren’t much fun to taste. Another tough day…

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2004 Leonetti Merlot
Bottle Notes, Merlot

2004 Leonetti Merlot – Bottle Notes

Leonetti Cellar was founded in 1977 by Gary and Nancy Figgins. Leonetti, along with Quilceda Creek and Woodward Canyon put premium Washington Cabernet Sauvignon on the radar of wine consumers across the United States. Leonetti also produces one of the very best domestic Merlots. Leonetti is near and dear to me as a wine consumer, and I’ve been on their…

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2003 Leonetti Merlot
Bottle Notes, Merlot

2003 Leonetti Merlot – Bottle Notes

Leonetti Cellar was founded in 1977 by Gary and Nancy Figgins. Leonetti, along with Quilceda Creek and Woodward Canyon put premium Washington Cabernet Sauvignon on the radar of wine consumers across the United States. Leonetti also produces one of the very best domestic Merlots. Leonetti is near and dear to me as a wine consumer, and I’ve been on their…

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